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Osborne pledges £1.9bn investment in cyber security

Chancellor George Osborne has promised a £1.9bn investment in cyber security over the next five years and to “aggressively defend” public services from cyber attacks

Chancellor George Osborne has launched a National Cyber Security Plan and increased cyber security funding to £1.9bn.

In a speech at GCHQ on 17 November 2015, Osborne said the government has decided to make cyber security a top priority and make Britain the best-protected nation in cyber space.

“In the spending review, I have made a provision to almost double our investment to protect Britain from cyber attack and develop our sovereign capabilities in cyber space, totalling £1.9bn over five years,” he said.

“If you add together the spending on core cyber security capabilities, protecting our own networks and ensuring safe and secure online services, the government’s total cyber spending will be more than £3.2bn.”

He also announced the details of a National Cyber Security Plan, which includes establishing a national cyber centre at GCHQ that will host a “cyber force” ready to handle cyber incidents in Britain and ensure “faster and more effective responses to major attacks”.

“The centre will be a unified source of advice and support for the economy, replacing the current array of bodies with a single point of contact,” said Osborne.

The plan includes a stronger active defence programme with increased capabilities for the UK’s National Cyber Crime Unit “so that – in partnership with their counterparts worldwide – they attack the assumption among too many that cyber crime is risk-free, and comes with little risk of consequences”.

Osborne also promised stronger defences for government systems and said the government will “aggressively defend” public services and install capabilities to detect attacks.

“We will introduce a cross-government IP reputation service – warning government websites when they try to do business with known bad addresses,” he said.

The cyber security plan also includes a cyber skills programme, which will identify young people with “cyber talent” and provide them with training, and a stronger regulatory framework.

The full strategy will be published in 2016, and Osborne said it is a “bold, comprehensive programme that will give Britain the next generation of cyber security experts, and make Britain one of the safest places to do business online”.

“It will give our companies and our citizens confidence that their cyber safety is being properly protected. It will ensure Britain remains at the cutting edge of the global cyber economy,” he said.

Osborne also announced the creation of a £165m Defence and Cyber Innovation Fund to support “innovative procurement across defence and cyber security”.

“It will mean that we support our cyber sector at the same time as investing in solutions to the hardest cyber problems government faces,” he said.

He added that both citizens and companies need to do their part to ensure they are protected from cyber crime.

“The starting point must be that every British company is a target, that every British network will be attacked and that cyber crime is not something that happens to other people,” he said.

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